Can you blame the Packers?
Since Peter King broke the story about Brett Favre wanting the Packers to take him off the NFL’s and the Packers, supposedly, not wanting Favre back, football fans and media folks have submitted all kinds of opinions about what action the Packers front office should take and in a few, I will join that horde.
In a column on ESPN.com, Gene Wojciechowski writes that Packers GM Ted Thompson would be crazy not to welcome Favre back with open arms. He writes:
“Thompson’s job is to construct the best possible Packers roster. And if he thinks Rodgers is better than Favre, then Thompson needs to submit his resignation yesterday.”
As a football fan, I sensed a lot of sadness the day Brett Favre tearfully acknowledged his retirement but I also sensed some relief. It was as if all of Packer Nation was bracing for that moment when Favre finally called it quits and once it had passed, they’d begun to look to the future. I knew that was premature.
In articles immediately following Favre’s retirement announcement, his agent, Bus Cook, hinted that the Packers had done very little to try to convince Favre back. I didn’t blame the franchise for not begging Favre to come back and I still don’t.
There wasn’t a sports fan in the world, save a few Vikings or Bears fans, that didn’t enjoy the Packers run last year. Seeing Favre re-energized and finally playing his role as a Trent Dilfer-like game manager was refreshing and left many thinking that the OT loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship was a fitting way for Favre to go out. But Packers fans and football writers would do well to remember that while the Packers and Favre’s ’07 run was memorable and heartwarming, the Packers front office hasn’t forgotten about the 2006 season where Favre was 18 and 18 and finished 25th among starting quarterbacks in quarterback ratings.
Quite understandably, the Packers front office is wondering what Favre they’re going to get. The interception-prone gunslinger that forces balls into tight and unworkable spots in big moments or the conservative game-manager who relies as much on his hand off as his throwing arm. Favre’s recent history would suggest they’re far more apt to get the latter and given how young this team is and how small the window of opportunity is in the NFL, Thompson is write to give Aaron Rodgers his shot. At some point, you have to see if he’s the man to lead your team into the post-Favre era and it’s tough to make that evaluation if he’s not in the game.